Yamaha uses an Alfa Romeo 4C as its electric motor testbed

Yamaha uses an Alfa Romeo 4C as its electric motor testbed Yamaha

When the time comes to test new powertrains, manufacturers need a chassis that suits their development requirements. This is usually not a problem, because an evolutionary design approach leads to only incremental changes between generations, so engines remain swappable. Alternatively, when hatchback pros decide to spend it all on a wild mid-engine supercar project, there’s always an Ultima GTR nearby to use as an engine mule. Recently, Yamaha needed a car to test its new electric motor, and given that the last one they made was the 1967–70 Toyota 2000GT, they opted for the compact, carbon-fiber monocoque Alfa Romeo 4C instead, which let go of a four-cylinder turbo in favor of Yamaha’s new motor.

By the way, have you ever seen a 4C being put together on Maserati’s Modena assembly line?

Máté Petrány
Máté Petrány

Máté Petrány

You might know Yamaha from your flute-playing days, but since being established as a motor company in 1955, Yamaha gave us not only a fleet of excellent motorbikes, ATVs, and other small vehicles but also a 400-horsepower V-12 supercar that never was, Formula 1 engines that sadly led nowhere, and more importantly, the tone of Toyota’s V-10—which, jammed into the nose of the Lexus LFA, turned out to be the best-sounding production engine of the last two decades.

So when Yamaha’s engineers say an electric motor will be compact and efficient, I have no doubt they can deliver. Sustainable driving fun is also something I’d sign up for, which means all they need to come up now is a cheap, carbon-monocoque EV that’s ultimately faster off the line than an Alfa Romeo 4C. While that’s on the drawing board, we would be happy to take their already-sorted mule for a sustainable joyride.

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